Limetree Bay announced Wednesday it will reinstate an ambient air monitoring program, following a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notice of violation of the Clean Air Act.
“Limetree Bay has voluntarily agreed to reactivate the five area monitors that were put in place prior to our ownership of the refinery to detect sulfur dioxide in ambient air,” Jeff Rinker, Limetree Bay chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement.
Rinker, in the statement released by Limestree’s spokesperson Erica Parsons, noted that over the last several weeks “our leadership team has met with community leaders, and government officials, including the EPA.”
“While Limetree Bay is not required to perform this air monitoring under our existing permits, we are committed to being a responsible part of the St. Croix community and believe this investment will help build trust in our operations,” he said.
EPA Acting Regional Administrator Walter Mugdan responded Wednesday that “EPA is encouraged by Limetree Bay’s decision to re-establish the sulfur dioxide monitoring stations around its facility,” and “will stay in close contact with the company as it works to activate the monitors.”
The EPA “also is exploring how it can support or augment monitoring in the interim. Monitoring is particularly important for this community given the continuing reports of odors near the facility.”
Parsons did not respond to questions from The Daily News on Wednesday about new reports of odors on St. Croix.
Residents have been complaining for months that the company has been spewing noxious chemicals over neighborhoods around the refinery.
“This is an ongoing enforcement matter,” EPA spokesman Elias Rodriguez told The Daily News on Wednesday.
“Part of what EPA will learn in its site visits, inspections, and through its information requests, is the operational status of the facility,” Rodriguez said. “As detailed in the Notice of Violation, the facility has an opportunity to respond before EPA proceeds with considering the appropriate next steps.”
The statement from Limetree Bay also included a comment from Gov. Albert Bryan Jr.
“I am pleased that Limetree Bay responded to the government’s request to activate the area monitors, which will provide further assurance to the local community about their air quality,” Bryan said. “Working together, we can assure the health of our people and the economic viability of our territory.”
The company, in its statement, noted there are five monitoring stations across St. Croix, and that “Limetree Bay will initiate their reinstatement immediately. The company will provide additional information on the timeline to repair and restore the air monitors, once a full assessment of their condition is complete.”